On Wednesday, an Iraqi court sentenced to death on terror charges a prominent jihadist described as a deputy of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after he was captured in Turkey.
Ismail Alwan Salman al-Ithawi was hunted down, caught and extradited after a joint operation involving Turkish, Iraqi and US intelligence agencies, according to the Iraqi authorities.
“The Karkh criminal court in Baghdad sentenced to death hanging one of the most prominent leaders of IS, who served as a deputy of Baghdadi,” judicial spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar said.
The Iraqi authorities announced in February that Ithawi had been extradited from Turkey after fleeing first Iraq and then Syria as the group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate” crumbled. A senior Iraqi official told AFP at the time that the arrest came after an elite Iraqi unit “infiltrated the highest levels” of IS, which has claimed a string of deadly attacks in the West in recent years. It was the first time Iraqi authorities managed to have a top leader of IS extradited from Turkey.
A native of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, Ithawi was accused of holding several positions including IS “minister” in charge of religious edicts and head of a IS committee that decided on senior appointments. Originally from Iraq, his boss Baghdadi has been dubbed the “most wanted man on the planet” and the United States is offering a $25 million reward for his capture. Baghdadi has been pronounced dead on several occasions, but an Iraqi intelligence official said in May that he remained alive in Syrian territory the Iraqi border.
In a purported new audio recording released last month, the IS chief called on Muslims to wage “jihad”. He made his only known public appearance in Iraq’s second city of Mosul in July 2014.